Date of Award:

12-2018

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Environment and Society

Advisor/Chair:

Mark Brunson

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Claudia Radel

Third Advisor:

Jessica Lucero

Abstract

Local communities have the right to participate in decision-making about environmental resources near where they live. Local governments have tried to gather feedback from communities to help improve the decisions they make, but have not always done a good job getting feedback from minority or urban communities. This dissertation provides one step toward obtaining this kind of public input in a majority minority community surrounding the Jordan River in Salt Lake City. Children and adults participated in this research. I present findings from two surveys, from work with children, and from adult interviews to understand how this community relates to their local river, what they like and do not like about it, and what they would like to see improved.

This research revealed that communities have both positive and negative views of the river, but overall see it as an important community resource that is highly valued. Communities would like to participate more in river decision-making and have suggestions for how they would like to see that happen. The results in this dissertation can help bridge the gap between local city government officials and this minority community to help improve the river environmental quality and connections to the community.

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